Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Love U, Torrent: Summer Lovers Review

I finally caved in and watched Randal Kleiser's Summer Lovers a couple of days ago. I'd say I had fun watching it.

It is about a young couple (Daryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher) who go to Greece for a vacation. They meet a French paleontologist (Valerie Quennessen). There is instant attraction. Then, after the obligatory moral debates, the menage-a-trois.

The actors were young, beautiful, and most importantly, uninhibited. Daryl Hannah--who later Splash-ed with Tom Hanks and much later turned down the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman, the role that made Julia Roberts a star (because she thought it was degrading to women)--was a real-life Barbie. Peter Gallagher was an eye-candy, too. Never mind the caterpillars above his eyes. It was the eightees, man. Bushy brows were to the 80s what internet is to Y2K. And Vallerie Quennessen looked like the late Princess Diana. Again, it's the 80s. The People's Princess had just hooked up with UK's heir-to-the-throne-then-and-still-is, and everybody loved her and wanted to look like her. But I'm not saying that Vallerie was trying to look like Lady Di. I must admit I have no basis for that claim, except that they, well, looked freakishly identical.

The story is very simple. But like what a review on says, it's a vacation movie; who wants to think while on vacation?

It's a litle overscored. But it's not that much of a problem, especially if you love 80s music and you're a fan of Chicago, Elton John, and Blondie, and other 80s icons.

Then, the nudity. The beautiful trio love going to exotic Greek beaches. And for some reason, everyone in those beaches don't feel the need to wear skimpy bikinis and tight Speedos. You get the drift.

I understand that Summer Lovers was not intended to equal From Here To Eternity, but I think it's still worth slicing a bit. The story, while it's charming for being simple, borders on being flimsy. The characters have no objective and hardly have any character change in the end. Cathy Feathersome (Daryl Hannah) learns to be more open-minded and Lina (no last name--just Lina, Valerie Quennessen) allows herself to fall in love, but that's about it. While those are valid objectives, they only come out in the end. They are hardly discussed / shown in act II. And when I saw Cathy and Lina getting confused about their setup and their feelings toward each other, I knew the film was going to end soon.

And again, the nudity. This film is the result of the success of The Blue Lagoon, made by the same filmmaker, Randal Kleiser, two years earlier. Stripping teeners in The Blue Lagoon worked miracles at the box-office, so they wanted to replicate its success. In that film, the excuse for the nudity was being trapped and coming of age in an exotic island. In Summer Lovers, it was going to and self-discovery in an exotic country.

In the 60s and the early 70s, sex was an important tool for cultural revolution. Sex was political. In this film--released in 1980--had no statement whatsoever. And it borders on being exploitative.

It's a no-brainer film. And has no pretensions of being otherwise. But I must admit I had fun watching it. Partly because I was finally able to quench my twenty-or-so-year thirst for this film. And partly because it has naked beautiful young people having a fun summer. You kow, it's that kind of summer that changes a person--now, who can't identify with that? I'm not sure, though, if I would watch it again. Maybe I would after five years.

This is from the same director of Flight of the Navigator, Grease and Honey, I Blew Up The Kids. It may not be in AFI's Top 100 Films Of All Time, but it still a very interesting piece of work.

Recommended to: those who grew up in the 80s, those who saw the trailer of this film and noticed the scenes in the nudist beach, those who want to see naked beautiful young people especially Daryl Hannah, and those whose little minds were warped by the candle-wax clip on the trailer (attn: Ned), and those who just want to watch a fun film.

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